Joan Jett Sues Hot Topic For Trademark Infringement

Tayla Holman

Joan Jett's Blackheart Records Group has filed a lawsuit against Hot Topic for trademark infringement, claiming that the retailer stole the Blackheart trademark for its new women's clothing line.

Hot Topic's Blackheart line advertises itself as "lingerie for girls who rock and roll." The website contains little reference back to Hot Topic, with the exception of a link in the bottom right hand side of the page.

Blackheart Records is insisting that the line is blatant trademark infringement and that Jett popularized the term with her band, Joan Jett & The Blackhearts, which she formed in the late 1970s with Kenneth Laguna. The band topped the charts with "I Love Rock 'n Roll" and formed Blackheart Records to distribute music and other merchandise. Blackheart received a federally registered trademark in 1985.

In a filing dated June 12, Blackheart said that consumers would be confused by the clothing now being sold under that name by Hot Topic.

According to the complaint, Hot Topic approached Blackheart in February 2010 to design and distribute women's clothing and other merchandise featuring the Blackheart brand. In October 2012, Hot Topic officially announced the line, and the products became available for purchase online on November 15. Hot Topic also opened five Blackheart stores.

"After experimenting with legitimate and illegitimate items that use and or are sold under the Blackheart family of marks, defendants commenced their own line of clothing under their own new Blackheart brand," according to the Blackheart Records filing.

Joan Jett and the Blackhearts were nominated for induction into the Rock & Roll Halle of Fame last October, but when the winners were revealed at the induction ceremony on April 18, the "Queen of Rock and Roll" and her band were noticeably absent.

What do you think of Blackheart Records' lawsuit against Hot Topic? Do you agree that the retailer blatantly infringed upon the Blackheart trademark?

[Photo credit: Lee Gwyn / Flickr]